| He stood with all the rest, waiting to go on. He held his horn close to him as his nerves grew worse and worse. They had been practicing since July for this moment, and it was now the end of October. As he waited he looked at the faces of his comrades. They ranged from nervous, to the calmest of calm. Finally they moved out of the locker rooms to the back of the field. This was the worst part.
They stood, facing back as the group on the field finished their show. He stood there, only able to hear the other group, unable to watch or to see the crowds reaction. The crowd. Why did he think of the crowd. It was one of those thoughts which happend and you have no idea why. They always happen at the worst time. His nerves grew worse and worse, and then the command came. The group turned as one, and marched onto the field. They formed up in a circle and played a quick on field warm up. By this time his heart was beating out of his chest, driving him insane. Insane with the fear of failure and embarrassment . Really these should have been the least of his concerns, but he had no way of knowing that.
They broke out of the circle, and marched forward into position as the announcer droned on. Then the command. Horns snapped up. Music flowed forth. It started small, as a musical stream of sorts. But it grew and grew. Several minutes later that musical stream had been replaced. It had swelled, taken on a life of its own. Nothing could stop it now. No longer was it a stream. It had morphed into something greater, eclipsing even the ocean in its power. This was what he really should have feared. This pouring forth, what would it leave him with. So much of him was being sent out through the horn. Sent into a crowd. Mixing with the soul and spirit of his fellow performers. His brothers and sisters of music. He should have worried about losing himself on that field, because he did, but he had no way to know that.
The final chord ended and they marched off the field to the sound of the drums. But not all of them marched off. Part was left behind, left to the field and the crowed and the competition. Left behind as a testiment of sorts. This is what he should have been concerned about. This change on the most fundamental level. But what was lost was replaced. The part of his soul, was filled with that of the group. He had become, for a moment at least, a part of something infinitly larger than an individual. Something which spanned forever. It was then, as they marched off the fieldsthat he remembered back. He remembered his first rehersal, and how he didnt even know how to play his horn. He remembered when he had to spend extra time learning to march because he was so far behind the others. He remembered how at times he swore to himself that he would never again do this.
There was the change. In just a few short months he had changed from a whiney freshmen into something else. Something much harder to describe. He thought about it as he left the field. What had changed? How was he different now? As he marched away thinking, it dawned on him. He was no longer just himself. He was a member, he was included in a vital way. He had not only found marching, but marching had found him. From that moment on it was in him and he was forever changed.
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